11 items from 2014
"Snowpiercer" director Bong Joon-ho's brainy bunch of Criterion Collection faves, below, runs the gamut from the canonical to the obscure to the cultish. Who knew the director of a gruesomely violent dystopian sci-fi allegory about the 99% had a soft spot for Mike Leigh? "Rushmore"? In any case, here are Bong's top ten favorite Criterion films, with his commentary. It's more of a Blu-ray wish list: 1. "The 400 Blows" (Dir. Francois Truffaut) The most beautiful feature film debut in the history of cinema. I’m extremely curious about the abundant special features on the Blu-ray. I wish to explore every single one. 2. "Fanny and Alexander" (Dir. Ingmar Bergman) The most beautiful ending to a feature film career in the history of cinema. And the most beautiful DVD box set in the history of mankind. I’m keen to find out who the designer of the box set was. 3. "The Ballad of Narayama" (Dir. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Barnes & Noble has just kicked off their 50% off Criterion sale and while it's impossible to suggest titles that will suit everyone looking to beef up their collection at this perfect time of year, I will do my best to offer some suggestions. Let's get to it... My Absolute First Pick I am almost done going through this collection and it was a collection I got for Christmas under these exact circumstances. Typically priced at $224.99, you can now get this amazing set of 25 Zatoichi films for only $112. Box sets, in my opinion, are what sales like this were made for. Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman Next Ten Recommendations It isn't easy so this is a collection of just some of my favorite films (of all-time and within the collection) and a little variety, though pretty much my standard, go to Criterion first picks, especially if you are just starting out. Persona Breathless »
- Brad Brevet
Here we go again folks with another Top 25 today. This time around I’ll be taking a break from the technical categories (partially because there’s only one more of those left to hit), this time going with a mini-major, as it were. What would that be, you ask? Well, this would be the rather eclectic Best Foreign Language Feature field. The category is one that usually has a more interesting list of nominees than the eventual winner that’s chosen, but there’s still lots more to it than that and plenty to like. The winners over the years have been very unique, with certain choices being almost downright inspired on the part of Oscar voters. I have a few specific titles I’ll be citing below in detail, but I know how the game works here. You all mostly just want to see the lists I do anyway, »
- Joey Magidson
Stockholm (AP) — Malik Bendjelloul, the cash-strapped freelance film maker who shot to Hollywood stardom overnight with the Oscar-winning music documentary "Searching for Sugar Man," has died. He was 36. Swedish police spokeswoman Pia Glenvik told The Associated Press that Bendjelloul died in Stockholm late Tuesday, but wouldn't specify where his body was found or the cause of death. She said no crime is suspected in relation to the filmmaker's death. "Searching for Sugar Man," which tells the story of how American singer Sixto Rodriguez became a superstar in South Africa without knowing about it, won the Oscar for best documentary in 2013. It was the first time a Swedish film had won an Oscar since Ingmar Bergman's "Fanny and Alexander" in 1984. The film also won several other prizes, including a British BAFTA for best documentary and the Swedish Guldbagge award. Bendjelloul came across the story about Rodriguez, who had disappeared from public life in the U. »
- Malin Rising (AP)
Today is "Star Wars Day." You know, "May the fourth," because it sounds like "May the force (be with you)." Get It??? There has been plenty of "Star Wars" discussion this week as the people threatening to give us a seventh film in this storied franchise dropped a few casting details on the world. People like Oscar Isaac and Max von Sydow and Adam Driver will be joining old timers Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher for "Star Wars: Episode VII - Whatever Nifty Subtitle They Give It," and we'll probably be hearing about it constantly as the film forges on through production and post-production. To mark today's occasion, director J.J. Abrams and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan offered up a video howdy, which you can watch below if these movies are your thing. In case it's not readily evident, they're certainly not my thing, but I can't very well be »
- Kristopher Tapley
Some specialty festival events started this week that should be on your radar. The 17th annual Cine Las Americas festival runs through Sunday. Movies are playing at four venues, including the Marchesa and the Alamo Drafthouse Village. If you didn't get a film pass, you can buy individual tickets at the venues if the films aren't at capacity. The seventh annual Off-Centered Film Fest is also going on through the weekend. Special events include a 35mm screening of Jackie Chan's Drunken Master and Harold Lloyd's 1923 silent classic Safety Last!
The Marchesa will be tied up with Cine Las Americas screenings through the weekend, but Austin Film Society has a few other tricks up its sleeve. Richard Linklater returns on Wednesday night for his Jewels In The Wasteland series. He'll be presenting Ingmar Bergman's Fanny And Alexander in a 35mm print of the original 188-minute theatrical version. This »
- Matt Shiverdecker
Gentle and ruminative, this documentary from Mark Cousins takes a rich and clever look at how children appear on screen
This utterly beguiling and idiosyncratic cine-essay by critic and film-maker Mark Cousins is a personal journey through the subject of children on film. It was first shown at last year's Cannes film festival and is now on release here: a brilliant mosaic of clips, images and moments chosen with masterly flair, and accompanied by Cousins' own gentle, ruminative, almost murmured voiceover. Just as in his mighty television series, A Story of Film, Cousins dances nimbly between films old and new, cleverly intuits the connections, and digresses into the history of art, as well as into that of his own family.
A Story of Children and Film could be read as simply the story of Cousins himself, through film, and his own refusal to reproduce the cynical/knowing tone of modern grownup criticism. »
- Peter Bradshaw
Before we start here’s a confession. I’m a fan of Terry Gilliam’s work. Unashamed, bordering on (but never becoming) an apologist. From the bedtime anarchy of Time Bandits to the dark satanic future of Brazil, from the dizzying false heights of Munchausen to finding myself washed up on the Tideland – each and every one of his films has connected with me, some inextricably so.
The more of them I saw, the more I became hooked on his dreamatic musings; a new Gilliam film is a big deal in my world. He was also my first film teacher with the BBC’s long forgotten series called The Last Machine taking in a whirlwind tour of the first century of cinema from sideshow contraption to documentarian to a gateway to other worlds. Gilliam knew cinema, and came across as a man possessed with a love of ideas and visual poetry. »
- Jon Lyus
Mixing awe and irreverence, “Trespassing Bergman” informatively and entertainingly explores the home, life, films and legacy of legendary Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman with the help of other world-cinema heavyweights. Calling on filmmakers including Michael Haneke, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, John Landis, Lars von Trier, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Claire Denis, Wes Craven, Takeshi Kitano Ang Lee and Zhang Yimou to discuss the impact that films such as “Summer With Monika,” “The Seventh Seal,” “Persona” and “Fanny and Alexander” had on their lives and careers, this cinephile’s delight will be catnip to global fests, broadcasters and distribs.
Jane Magnusson and Hynek Pallas’ docu combines previously unseen behind-the-scenes footage from the making of Bergman’s films, well-chosen clips and a chronology of his career with candid conversations with other filmmakers, some shot at Bergman’s remote Faro Island home and others at locations around the world. A playful tone is established early »
- Alissa Simon
Swedish director, producer and journalist Tarik Saleh got his start in the early 1990s as one of his country’s most prominent graffiti artists. Since then, Saleh has gone on to co-direct documentaries including 2001’s “Sacrificio – Who Betrayed Che Guevara” and “Gitmo – The New Rules of War” in 2005. “Metropia,” the animated feature Saleh directed in 2009, premiered as the opening film at the critic week in Venice. Saleh is also a co-founder of the Swedish production company Atmo. His current thriller, “Tommy,” starring Ola Rapace and Lykke Li, switches gears as Saleh transitions from the docu format to fiction. Based on actual events, “Tommy” tells the story of a robbery at an airport and offers a more in-depth portrayal of the women in Sweden’s crime world. The flick will close the Goteborg Int’l film festival and bows in Swedish theaters in March. Variety talked to Saleh during the festival. »
- Andrea Seikaly
Blu-ray Release Date: Feb. 11, 2014
Price: Blu-ray $29.95
Studio: Twilight Time
A rare combination of character study, film noir and black comedy, the film is about an esteemed New York ophthalmologist (Martin Landau, Cleopatra) whose affair with a flight attendant (Anjelica Huston, The Grifters) puts the careful construct of his life in jeopardy.
As he contemplates a permanent solution to his problems, another story is weaved into the narrative, this one about another kind of moral crisis: a struggling documentary filmmaker (Allen) considers selling out by making a doc about a Hollywood jackass (Alan Alda, Tower Heist), with the situation further complicated by the appearance of an entrancing TV producer (Mia Farrow, Rosemary’s Baby).
Highlighted by cinematography from the incomparable Sven Nykvist »
11 items from 2014
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